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Spec Care Dentist. 2015 Sep;35(5):221-228. doi: 10.1111/scd.12115. Epub 2015 May 7.

They stole her teeth! An exploration of adults with developmental disability experiences with dental care.

Author information

1
Cert Pediatric Dentistry, Private Practice, Alberta, Canada.
2
Cert. Pediatric Dentistry, Professor and Head of the Department of Oral Health Sciences at the Faculty of Dentistry, University of British Columbia.
3
Assistant Professor and Head of the MPH/Diploma in Dental Public Health Program at the Faculty of Dentistry, University of British Columbia.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

The aim of this paper was to explore the experiences of adults with developmental disabilities (AWDD) in accessing and utilizing dental services in Vancouver, BC.

METHODS:

Participants were either self-advocates or parents/caregivers who discussed their experiences in five focus group discussions with 20 participants in total (age range 17-60 years, 2 males). Each focus group lasted on average 40 minutes. Transcripts were coded for thematic analysis; the codes were organized into themes and finally into domains.

RESULTS:

Seven domains relating to the participants' experiences with dental care were identified, and included communication, trust, and respect as provided-based domains to the quality of the dental experience for AWDD and their parents, while financial issues, transitional services, and waiting times were system-based barriers to access to dental care for theses AWDD. Finally, what makes for a positive dental experience was shared in terms of acknowledging parent's role as advocates and making simple accommodations to see AWDD by the dental office.

CONCLUSIONS:

Access to a care provider did not necessarily equate to satisfaction with quality of experience. Efforts have to focus on establishing communication and trust with AWDD patients as key to a positive dental experience. We encourage a global discussion on the need to better incorporate dental care for special needs individuals within dental school curricula.

KEYWORDS:

access/barriers to care; developmentally disabled

PMID:
25951768
DOI:
10.1111/scd.12115

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